Thursday, January 14, 2021

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the English College

From The Venerable English College Archives:

Christmas is a time for carols, even if this year we may only be able to sing them from the comfort of our home, and none is more popular than O Come, All ye Faithful. This is a Victorian translation of a Latin hymn, Adeste Fideles, probably written by John Francis Wade (1711–86), an English Catholic musician who spent most of his adult life in Douai, in France.

It has been suggested that the hymn contained a coded reference to a ‘joyful and triumphant’ event that took place in the Palazzo Muti, Rome, 300 years ago this New Year’s Eve: the birth, on 31 December 1720, of Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Silvester Severino Maria Stuart (1720–88), better known as ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’. Indeed the words of the hymn, ‘born the King of Angels’ (Regem Angelorum), contained a wordplay on ‘King of the English’ (Regem Anglorum), for the new-born baby who, in the eyes of his supporters, would one day become the rightful ‘King Charles III’. (Read more.)


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